Looking Towards and Beyond the Summit: MaRS Discovery District

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The Canadian Open Data Summit (CODS) is a collaborative effort organised with the help and support of open data leaders and organisations from across Canada. We’ve asked some of our partners to tell us why open data matters, what hopes they have for the Summit, and how they wish the community to grow after the event on May 25.

This week, we share the answers of Sameer Vasta from MaRS Discovery District.

Why does open data matter?

Beyond the oft-repeated reasons for the need for open data — transparency, openness, accountability, all of which are important — there is a crucial need for us to think of open data as a form of public works. Like bridges, roads, electrical systems, and water reservoirs, the release of high-value open data sets by the public and private sector creates a base infrastructure upon which we can build organizations, businesses, services, and communities. By looking at data as this public infrastructure, we see it as a necessary and basic investment that will show return through better lives lived by people across the country.

What are your hopes for the Summit?

The upcoming Canadian Open Data Summit will provide us an opportunity to address the conversation of data as a public work, as a piece of public infrastructure at a national level. While there is significant work being done around open data in communities across the country, any kind of movement towards a comprehensive strategy for Canada will require a coordinated effort by all of these communities, together. The Summit should look at challenges and opportunities around sustainability and scale of services and solutions built on open data; the issues of sustainability and scale are best addressed at a national level, and international, level.

How would you like to see the open data community grow?

The outcomes of the Canadian Open Data Summit should and will be driven by the priorities of the communities that will be participating; among those priorities is the reframing of open data as more than just a niche, technology-driven issue, but instead a national public good that needs input and involvement from both the public and private sector. Once we move the conversation beyond one of transparency or technology and into one of public service and private investment, the discussion and use of open data will become more mainstream, and thus will drive continued momentum and involvement after the event.

About the Canadian Open Data Summit 2015

We’ve announced a first series of international and Canadian speakers on the Canadian Open Data Summit website, where you can also consult the schedule and the list of speakers.

Don’t forget to register today!

We invite you to nominate an individual or organization to receive the Canadian Open Data Award at the Summit.

And find out more about our travel grants to attend the Canadian Open Data Summit and landmark international open data events happening the same week in Ottawa.

Please help us promote the Summit to your colleagues, friends, and local open data community, whether through a local tech or community mailing list, blog post, Twitter or Facebook.

Follow us at @opennorth on Twitter for regular updates!

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